Maxwell, Dickens Fest, Johnnyswim, Holiday Parade in this week’s ‘Things To Do’

Dec. 1 - 4: Maxwell, Holiday Parade in Philly, bowl with the Eagles in N.J., and Newark Winterfest in Delaware are among this week’s highlights.

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A man sings into a microphone.

Maxwell performs at the opening night ceremony of the U.S. Open tennis tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

December comes in with a rush of holiday-themed events, from the Dickens Fest in Medford, N.J. to the Newark Winterfest in Delaware. In Philly, there’s a new holiday parade, Maxwell and Johnnyswim are in town, and Santa Paws is raising money for a good cause. For those not quite in the holiday spirit just yet: The Philadelphia Eagles kickoff at home at 1 p.m. Sunday. Fans wanting to get up close and personal with players could also participate in the 17th annual “Bowl with the Birds” event in Cherry Hill.

Arts & Culture | Holiday-Themed | Music | New Jersey | Delaware

Arts & Culture

Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

Playwright/actor Anthony Lawton has created his own one-man show adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novella “A Christmas Carol” and will perform it through the holiday season. Reviewers have called his version of the story of the mean and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge both “electrifying” and “a finely considered reworking,” The production has been deemed suitable for all ages, though keep in mind, the 95-minute show does not have an intermission.

Rhythm and Meaning: Henri Matisse’s Jazz

A person hangs paintings in a room with gray walls and a blue carpet.
Jim Carroll hangs an exhibit of Henri Matisse’s “Jazz” in the refurbished Dorothy W. and F. Otto Haas Gallery at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia. Renovations included reopening the walled-off windows in the gallery. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
  • When:  Friday, Dec. 2, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Where: Athenaeum of Philadelphia, 219 S. 6th St. 
  • How much: Free

Henri Matisse is a popular guy in Philly these days. He’s the subject of a current exhibit of 140 works at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a permanent collection at the Barnes Foundation. Now for its First Fridays event, the Athenaeum hosts  Rhythm and Meaning: Matisse’s “Jazz” showcasing their copy of the limited edition book first published in 1947. The 20 plates feature Matisse’s famed paper cutouts along with notes in the artist’s own handwriting.

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Tyler Kepner – The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series

Fans cheer before Game 3 of the World Series
Fans cheer before Game 3 of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
  • When: Thursday, Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine St. 
  • How much: Free

Author Tyler Kepner makes an in-person appearance at the Free Library of Philadelphia in support of his latest book, “The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series.” Kepner has worked as a baseball writer for The New York Times for the last decade, and he’s also the author of “The Phillies Experience: A Year-by-Year Chronicle of the Philadelphia Phillies.” Given his vast knowledge of the game, he may be able to provide some insight into the Phillies’ recent World Series loss.



Handmade Holidays

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 3, noon – 5 p.m.
  • Where: Bartram’s Garden, 5400 Lindbergh Blvd. 
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

Tucked behind an apartment complex, Bartram’s Garden is one of the city’s natural resources providing ample space for casual recreation and formal events. On Saturday, it’s the location for  “Handmade Holidays,” a market where you can purchase one-of-a-kind arts and crafts items. Family portraits, kid’s activities, mulled wine, and s’mores are complimentary, but there will also be food vendors on-site for purchase.

Deck the Alley

Elfreth’s Alley is the country’s most historic street and during the holidays, it’s one of the city’s most festive. The annual Deck the Alley is a fundraiser that allows visitors to tour the homes along with music, food, and other revelries. Proceeds help with the upkeep of the homes, which date back to the 1700s.

Visit Philadelphia Holiday Parade

Visit Philadelphia hosts its second annual holiday parade featuring participation from diverse groups like Project Capoeira, Philadelphia Jazz Legacy Project, 5 Shorts Project of Culture Trust, Greater Philadelphia, and more. Bands, dance troupes, and other groups will march down Market Street from 2nd St. to City Hall.

Encendido Navideño

  • When:  Saturday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Where: Taller Puertorriqueño, 2600 N. 5th 
  • How much: Free

The Puerto Rican holiday season stretches from Thanksgiving to mid-January. It’s the longest holiday celebration in the world, according to Taller Puertorriqueño who is hosting Encendido Navideño. The month-long event kicks off Saturday with performances from Los Bomberos de la Calle and Trio Renacer.

PHestival of Trees 

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. 
  • Where: King of Prussia Mall, Level 3, The Pavilion, 680 W. DeKalb Pike, King of Prussia, Pa. 
  • How much: Children 5-18 $5, adults $10  

King of Prussia’s holiday celebration gets underway with their annual PHestival of Trees installation. Hundreds of trees are decorated by designers, artists, florists, students, and community organizations for the two-day festival that benefits local animal rescues and shelters. You can also purchase a fully decorated tree and check that right off your holiday list. Beneficiaries of the event include Hart 2 Heart, Senior Dog Haven, Animal House Project,  Finding Shelter, and Lucky You!.

Santa Paws 

  • When:  Saturday, Dec. 3, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. 
  • Where: Kimpton Hotel, Palomar Philadelphia, 117 S. 17th
  • How much: Free with registration, donations to Saved Me adoption center encouraged  

We know how much you love your dog(s). So why not include a photo of your pup with Santa as part of your family tradition? Santa Paws was created for just that purpose. The pic is free (it’s advised to get there early), but donations to local animal charity, Saved Me, are strongly encouraged. Before you go, make sure your dog plays well with others, is on a leash, and isn’t a super large breed, ‘cause even Santa has his limits. Complimentary coffee and cocoa for pet parents and treats for the dogs are provided.


WDAS Holiday Jam Presents Maxwell 

Maxwell performs at Chastain Park Amphitheatre on Saturday, July 6, 2013, in Atlanta. (Photo by Robb D. Cohen/RobbsPhotos/Invision/AP)

R&B crooner Maxwell is among the enduring artists of the neo-soul movement. His debut album “Urban Hang Suite,” released in 1996, is among the classics of the genre. While on his “Night” tour, he’s headlining the WDAS Holiday Jam in support of his latest single, “Off.” Maxwell’s also becoming a go-to tribute performer, recently paying homage to Michael Jackson at the 2022 Billboard Awards.

The Harlem Nutcracker 

In 1960, Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington premiered “The Harlem Nutcracker,” their jazz version of the classic ballet. The composers/musicians used Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite ” as inspiration, using elements of the music to inform their own. The Philly POPS Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia will perform “The Harlem Nutcracker” for the eighth time. The second part of the program is a tribute to jazz legend McCoy Tyner who died in 2020.

Yolanda Wisher and the Afroeatears

A group of people pose for a photo.
Yolanda Wisher and the Afroeaters (Courtesy of Kielinski Photographers/Courtesy Barnes Foundation)

Philly-based spoken word artist, vocalist, and educator Yolanda Wisher has been an integral part of Philly’s poetry scene for years. She was the first poet laureate of Montgomery County and Philadelphia’s third poet laureate in 2016 and 2017. If that weren’t impressive enough, the longtime educator is also credited with founding the School of Guerilla Poetics. In what must be her limited spare time, she’s the frontwoman for Yolanda Wisher and the Afroeaters, who’ll be performing at the Barnes in support of their 2022 album, “Doublehanded Suite.” 


“The Johnnyswim Show” will bring a behind-the-scenes look at the musical duo, Amanda Sudano Ramirez and her husband Abner Ramirez. The annual holiday tour will include a performance at Union Transfer in support of their 2022 self-titled release.  Sudano Ramirez, a powerhouse vocalist herself, is one of disco queen Donna Summer’s three daughters.


New Jersey

Medford Dickens Festival 

  • Where: Main Street, Medford, N.J. 
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. 
  • How much: Free, pay as you go 

Charles Dickens is the focus yet again for the latest Dickens Festival. Attendees can catch a ride on a horse-drawn carriage rides, or grab a spot to watch the holiday parade, and tree-lighting ceremony. Carolers will also be on hand to perform a live version of “A Christmas Carol.”

Bowl with the Birds 17


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  • Where: The Big Event 1536 Kings Hwy. North
  • When: Friday, Dec. 2, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
  • How much: $50 – $2500

The Philadelphia Eagles are 10-1 and the city is celebrating with them. The team is looking as good, if not better, than the one that won the Super Bowl in 2018. For an opportunity to meet the hot team, head to the 17th annual “Bowl with the Birds” event hosted by Marcus Epps. There are varying ticket levels if you want even more access to players.

City of Camden Tree Lighting Ceremony 

  • Where: 2 Aquarium Loop Drive, Camden, N.J.
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • How much: Free with registration

It’s time to light up Camden! The city across the river will host its annual tree lighting ceremony Saturday — it’s such a big deal that Mayor Carstarphen and the Camden County Board of Commissioners are coming out to join the public in celebrating the holiday season. The event includes kid-friendly activities like amusement park rides and arts and crafts, along with live performances and holiday card photos with Santa.

Holiday On Haddon 

  • When: Friday, Dec. 2, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Haddon Ave. near Westmont Fire Company, Haddon Township, N.J.
  • How much: Free, pay as you go

Haddon Township’s kickoff holiday celebration Holiday On Haddon includes all the things you’d want to bring the family out to enjoy. There’s a Parade of Lights, a tree-lighting ceremony, and a chance to take photos with Santa. Complimentary refreshments are part of the deal. Attendees are encouraged to bring unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items to supplement the township’s annual holiday toy drive.


Newark Winterfest 

Newark, Delaware hosts Winterfest, a public family celebration of the season that includes live ice carvings, chestnuts literally roasting on an open fire, caroling, and a tree lighting ceremony. The event will be held in conjunction with the Delaware Special Olympics’ annual Reindeer Run.

GetFit! Mind, Body and Spirit 

  • When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Where: William Hicks Anderson Center, 501 N. Madison St. Wilmington, Del.
  • How much: $10 – $75

The holiday season can be stressful. But the last month of the year can also spark the motivation to begin a health and wellness program to ring in the New Year on a positive note. The GetFit! Mind, Body and Spirit event is geared to empowering women and girls to practice self-care and wellness. There will be panels, self-defense classes, yoga, guided meditation, finance education, and more. Group and individual registrations are available.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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